Biogeographic characterization of fish and benthic communities, St Croix, US Virgin Islands 2012-05-07 to 2012-05-18 (NODC Accession 0125237)

browse graphicPreview graphic
Reef fish populations are a conspicuous and essential component of USVI coral reef ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, striking population and community level changes have occurred in the recent past due to fishing pressure and habitat degradation. The monitoring methodologies described in this document are necessary for understanding how natural and anthropogenic stressors are changing reef fish populations and communities and will be critical for their sustainable management.
A collaborative research effort between the NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s Biogeography Branch (BB) and the National Park Service (NPS) has been used to inventory and assess reef fish populations in reef and reef-associated habitats in the northeast region of St. Croix from 2001-2011. The survey method previously used has been refined to enable broader region-wide coverage at the scale of the USVI yet maintains high precision at the Marine Protected Area (MPA) spatial level. Region-wide population metric estimates are required to effectively manage reef fisheries but are also imperative for spatial management and understanding ecosystem-level processes. For example, the ability to place protected fish resources in the context of the greater region not only allows for the evaluation of management actions but it also provides the ability to determine the ecological role of an MPA in the greater ecosystem.
The monitoring method previously used by the Biogeography Branch and other partners in St. Croix and other regions within the USVI and Puerto Rico will be used to characterize and establish baseline data for future monitoring. St. Croix was chosen to serve as the first area to implement the protocol and to evaluate the logistics necessary to implement a long term monitoring program.
Characterization and monitoring of fish communities requires a quantitative measure of the spatial distribution and variation of those communities. These measures will enable managers to make targeted management decisions (e.g. where to allow mooring or where to allow recreational activities such as snorkeling and SCUBA diving). Additionally, the spatial setting, both within and outside protected regions allows managers to assess the impact, if any, of a change in regulation such as the prohibition of fishing. It also enables analysis of any differential effect (i.e. the effect may be the same throughout the region or it may be more effective toward an edge or center of a management area).
To quantify patterns of spatial distribution and make meaningful interpretations, we must first have knowledge of the underlying variables determining species distribution. The basis for this work therefore, is the nearshore benthic habitats maps (less than 100 ft depth) created by NOAA's Biogeography Program in 2001 and NOS' bathymetry models. The sampling domain includes all hardbottom habitats around St. Croix at depths less than 30m. The benthic habitat map and a habitat classification scheme were used to create a sample frame constructed with 50 x 50 m grids. Grids were stratified based on three variables: Hardbottom habitat type, depth zone, and region/management area. Habitat within these grids was stratified into 5 habitat categories (scattered coral/ rock, pavement, bedrock, patch reef and linear reef) each with two depth classifications (shallow (0-11.9 m) and deep (12- 30m)). Further stratification was assigned based on management zones and region of the island. There are three managed areas in St. Croix. Two federal marine protected areas are managed by the Department of Interior’s National Park Service: Buck Island Reef National Monument and Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Reserve. The St. Croix East End Marine Park is a territorial marine protected area managed by the USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Other strata include specific regions of St. Croix: North, East, West, and South shores. Overall there were 70 possible strata: 5 habitat types, 2 depth zones and 8 management areas/regions.
The monitoring objectives of this protocol are to determine status, trends, and variability in exploited reef fish species and communities within the USVI region and inside vs. outside different management zones, using measures such as relative abundance (density), spatial distribution, size structure and diversity.
The survey design is optimized for nine economically and ecologically important species in the USVI: blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus). queen triggerfish (Balistes vetula), coney (Cephalopholis fulva), red hind (Epinephelus guttatus), foureye butterflyfish (Chaetodon capistratus), French grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum), yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus), stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride) and threespot damselfish (Stegastes planifrons). These species were chosen to include a broad range of life history traits as well as a variety of habitat utilization patterns. The sample design is optimized with the respect to these species, but because all fish species are recorded, monitoring efforts also obtain important information about many non-targeted species, the overall trophic structure, and form the scientific basis for effective management actions.
As such, the sample allocation for this mission is based upon the existing community metrics and the above species specific distribution from the northeast region of St. Croix. It was determined that 250 samples among the various strata would be sufficient to characterize hard bottom habitats around the island and have comparable coefficient of variation (CV) to values observed in the northeast region of St. Croix. The goal was to survey as many of the 250 sites as possible in a two week time period. We organized a strong science field team and completed 286 fish and benthic surveys around the island.
Purpose: To determine status, trends, and variability in exploited reef fish species, and fish and benthic communities within the USVI region and inside vs. outside different management zones, using measures such as relative abundance (density), spatial distribution, size structure and diversity.
  • Cite as: Clark, R.; McGrath, T.; Hile, S. (2015). Biogeographic characterization of fish and benthic communities, St Croix, US Virgin Islands 2012-05-07 to 2012-05-18 (NODC Accession 0125237). Version 1.1. National Oceanographic Data Center, NOAA. Dataset. [access date]
gov.noaa.nodc:0125237
Download Data
  • HTTPS (download)
    Navigate directly to the URL for data access and direct download.
  • FTP (download)
    These data are available through the File Transfer Protocol (FTP). You may use any FTP client to download these data.
Distribution Formats
  • Originator data format
Ordering Instructions Data may be searched and downloaded using online services provided by NCEI using the online resource URLs in this record. Contact NCEI Information Services for custom orders. When requesting data from NCEI, the desired data set may be referred to by the unique package identification number listed in this metadata record.
Distributor DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
301-713-3277
NCEI.Info@noaa.gov
Dataset Point of Contact Information Services
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
301-713-3277
NCEI.Info@noaa.gov
Time Period 2012-05-07 to 2012-05-18
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates
N: 17.8271
S: 17.6376
E: -64.4514
W: -64.9199
Spatial Coverage Map
General Documentation
Publication Dates
  • publication: 2015-01-14
Edition 1.1
Data Presentation Form Digital table - digital representation of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns
Dataset Progress Status Complete - production of the data has been completed
Data Update Frequency As needed
Supplemental Information
Please reference NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch when utilizing these data in a report or peer reviewed publication. Additionally, knowledge of how this dataset has been of use and which organizations are utilizing it is of great benefit for ensuring this information continues to meet the needs of the management and research communities. Therefore, it is requested but not mandatory, that any user of this data supply this information to the Program Managers: Randy Clark (Randy.Clark@noaa.gov) or Chris Jeffrey (Chris.Jeffrey@noaa.gov)

These data were prepared by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, make any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference therein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. Any views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof. Although all data have been used by NOAA, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by NOAA as to the accuracy of the data and/or related materials. The act of distribution shall not constitute any such warranty, and no responsibility is assumed by NOAA in the use of these data or related materials.

This work is being conducted in collaboration with the NOAA’s Biogeography Branch, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Department of Interior National Park Service, Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, the University of the Virgin Islands and the University of Miami.
Purpose To determine status, trends, and variability in exploited reef fish species, and fish and benthic communities within the USVI region and inside vs. outside different management zones, using measures such as relative abundance (density), spatial distribution, size structure and diversity.
Use Limitations
  • accessLevel: Public
  • Distribution liability: NOAA and NCEI make no warranty, expressed or implied, regarding these data, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NOAA and NCEI cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in these data. If appropriate, NCEI can only certify that data it distributes are an authentic copy of the records that were accepted for inclusion in the NCEI archives.
Dataset Citation
  • Cite as: Clark, R.; McGrath, T.; Hile, S. (2015). Biogeographic characterization of fish and benthic communities, St Croix, US Virgin Islands 2012-05-07 to 2012-05-18 (NODC Accession 0125237). Version 1.1. National Oceanographic Data Center, NOAA. Dataset. [access date]
Cited Authors
  • Clark, R.
  • McGrath, T.
  • Hile, S.
Contributors
Resource Providers
Publishers
Theme keywords NODC DATA TYPES THESAURUS NODC OBSERVATION TYPES THESAURUS WMO_CategoryCode
  • oceanography
CoRIS Discovery Thesaurus
  • Numeric Data Sets > Benthic
  • Numeric Data Sets > Fish Census
CoRIS Theme Thesaurus
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Aquatic Habitat > Benthic Habitat
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Aquatic Habitat > Reef Habitat > Description
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Ecological Dynamics > Species richness
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Vegetation > Algae > Algal cover
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Vegetation > Algae > Calcareous macroalgae
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Vegetation > Algae > Coralline algae
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Vegetation > Algae > Crustose coralline algae
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Vegetation > Algae > Encrusting macroalgae
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Vegetation > Algae > Fleshy macroalgae
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Vegetation > Algae > Turf algae
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Coral Diseases
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Coral Diseases > Bleaching
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Baseline studies
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Benthos analysis
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Benthos analysis > Quadrat monitoring
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Benthos analysis > Quadrat monitoring > In situ
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Benthos analysis > Transect monitoring
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Benthos analysis > Transect monitoring > Belt transect
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Damage assessment > photographic
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Damage assessment > visual
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > In situ biological
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Rapid assessment studies
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Reef fish census > Belt transect
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Reef fish census > Linear transect
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Sponges
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Sponges > Boring
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Sponges > Encrusting
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Sponges > Erect
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Coral Reefs
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Coral Reefs > Coral Reef Ecology > Biodiversity
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Coral Reefs > Coral Reef Ecology > Coral cover
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Coral Reefs > Coral Reef Ecology > Habitats
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Coral Reefs > Coral Reef Ecology > Hard coral cover
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Coral Reefs > Coral Reef Ecology > Hard coral cover Dead percentage
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Coral Reefs > Coral Reef Ecology > Hard coral cover Live percentage
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Coral Reefs > Coral Reef Ecology > Octocoral cover
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Coral Reefs > Coral Reef Ecology > Rugosity
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Mangroves > Animal association
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Mangroves > Monitoring
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Fish > Fish Census
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Fish > Fish assemblages
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Marine Invertebrates > Census > Population density
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Marine Invertebrates > Macroinvertebrates
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Marine Plants > Seagrass
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Marine Plants > Seagrass > Monitoring
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science and Services Keywords
  • EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES
  • EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES > FISH
  • EARTH SCIENCE > BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > PLANTS > MACROALGAE (SEAWEEDS)
  • EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ECOSYSTEMS > MARINE ECOSYSTEMS > BENTHIC
  • EARTH SCIENCE > SOLID EARTH > GEOMORPHIC LANDFORMS/PROCESSES > COASTAL LANDFORMS > CORAL REEFS
NOS Data Explorer Topic Category
  • Environmental Monitoring
Originator Theme Keywords
  • coral reef fishes
Data Center keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NODC > National Oceanographic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NOS/NCCOS > National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
NODC COLLECTING INSTITUTION NAMES THESAURUS NODC SUBMITTING INSTITUTION NAMES THESAURUS
Instrument keywords NODC INSTRUMENT TYPES THESAURUS Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Instrument Keywords
  • VISUAL OBSERVATIONS
Place keywords NODC SEA AREA NAMES THESAURUS CoRIS Place Thesaurus
  • COUNTRY/TERRITORY > United States of America > U. S. Virgin Islands > St. Croix > St. Croix (17N064W0003)
  • OCEAN BASIN > Atlantic Ocean > Caribbean Sea > Virgin Islands > Virgin Islands > St. Croix (17N064W0003)
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • OCEAN > ATLANTIC OCEAN > NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
  • OCEAN > ATLANTIC OCEAN > NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN > CARIBBEAN SEA
Project keywords NODC PROJECT NAMES THESAURUS
Keywords NCEI ACCESSION NUMBER
Use Constraints
  • Cite as: Clark, R.; McGrath, T.; Hile, S. (2015). Biogeographic characterization of fish and benthic communities, St Croix, US Virgin Islands 2012-05-07 to 2012-05-18 (NODC Accession 0125237). Version 1.1. National Oceanographic Data Center, NOAA. Dataset. [access date]
Access Constraints
  • NOAA and NCEI cannot provide any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of furnished data. Users assume responsibility to determine the usability of these data. The user is responsible for the results of any application of this data for other than its intended purpose.
Fees
  • Digital data may be downloaded from NCEI at no charge in most cases. For custom orders of digital data or to obtain a copy of analog materials, please contact NCEI Information Services for information about current fees.
Lineage information for: dataset
Processing Steps
  • 2015-01-14T19:48:10 - NCEI Accession 0125237 v1.1 was published.
Output Datasets
Lineage information for: repository
Processing Steps
  • 2015-04-22T00:00:00 - NOAA created the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) by merging NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), and National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), including the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), per the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235. NCEI launched publicly on April 22, 2015.
Acquisition Information (collection)
Instrument
  • biota surveys
  • coral reef surveys
  • swimmer/diver
  • visual observation
Last Modified: 2018-06-05T14:51:03
For questions about the information on this page, please email: NODC.DataOfficer@noaa.gov